Earlier today at the Ohashi gym in Yokohama Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] finally returned to sparring, the first time since his November bout with Nonito Donaire, which came in the WBSS final and saw Inoue unifying the IBF and WBA Bantamweight titles.
The Bantamweight kingpin, who is scheduled to defend his titles on April 25th in US, was in the ring with Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-0, 2) [石井渡士也] with their spar lasting 5 rounds.
The spar is long than Inoue typically spars for, though it seems like he will be doing up to 10 rounds of sparring at a time as they build towards the April bout, which is expected to be against WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20).
Of course we know fans will be asking about the eye injury Inoue suffered against Donaire. The injury was the reason it's taken so long for Inoue to return to sparring, but appears to be fully healed and they wouldn't have allowed him to spar at all without passing medical clearance.
Interestingly Naoya wasn't the only member of the Inoue family in the gym today as younger brother Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真] also took part in some sparring, sharing the ring with Japanese ranked Super Flyweight Rysouke Nasu (11-5-3, 2) [那須亮祐].
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Just moments ago in Sumida fight fans saw former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (17-3-1, 12) [中川健太] score one of his most important wins to date, stopping youngster Rysouke Nasu (10-5-3, 2) [那須亮祐] in the 7th round.
The bout had been a mostly uneventful one. The pace seemed to set by Nasu's speed and his jab, and it was a bout that never really gelled. In fact despite being mostly free of clinches it was just not catching fire at all.
It seemed like Nakagawa was trying to lure youngster in for a counter left hand, but Nasu's speed and feints were giving Nakagawa a tough time reading him and causing further issues with how the bout was to watch. Though awkward to see it always seemed like Nakagawa's power could play a major factor, at some point.
As the fight went on Nasu's confidence began to to grow, he started to become more aggressive, trying to make his work clearly and out work the older man. That came with added risks and part way through round 7 Nakagawa finally landed one of his vaunted power shots, a big left hand, that sent Nasu down in Nakagawa's own corner. The referee began a count but it wasn't concluded as Nasu's team tossed in the towel and tended to their man.
Their was a few worrying scenes, given how long Nasu was down, and it did seem like Nakagawa was worried for his foe for a few minutes, but Nasu would manage to leave the ring under his own steam.
This is the second time Nasu has been stopped, with the first coming in the 2016 to Masamichi Yabuki in the West Japan Rookie of the Year final. As for Nakagawa this is a 4th straight win since losing the Japanese title to Ryuichi Funai just over 2 years ago.
Earlier today fight fans in Osaka got a real treat as they saw a new Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion being crowned.
The bout saw the heavy handed Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) [中村祐斗] take a razor thin split decision win over Ryosuke Nasu (9-4-3, 2) [那須亮祐] in what was a real thriller.
Nakamura got off to a good start, leading on two of the scorecards after 4 rounds due to his aggression, as pushed Nasu back and landed a number of big right hands. Although in the lead Nakamura had been cut, from an accidental headclash, and the lead was narrow, with one judge having the bout level.
Nasu looked to turn the bout around in round 5, and tried new things, using his feet more and picking up the tempo. It wasn't enough however and Nakamura matched him step for step, before the two took part in a wildly entertaining final round. In the end Nakamura narrowly took the win, with scores of 78-75 and 77-75 in his favour, whilst the third judge had it 77-76 to Nasu.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow at the EDION Arena Osaka fight wills will get the chance to see a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, as Ryosuke Nasu (9-3-3, 2) [那須亮祐] and Yuto Nakamura (8-5, 7) [中村祐斗] battle for the vacant title.
Today the two youngsters took part in their weigh in for the bout and both fighters made the 115lb limit.
On the scales Nasu, who is on the left in the image, was on the divisional limit. Nakamura on the other was comfortably under the limit, at 114.4lbs.
This bout isn't one of the higher profile bouts from this coming Sunday in Japan, on what is a genuinely stacked day of action, but it is a very interesting one and should be a really well matched one between two very talented youngsters.
Related - Nasu and Nakamura battle for Japanese Youth title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Green Tsuda held a press conference to announce their next big show "Crash Boxing 19", and revealed that it would be a triple title show, with a very good non-title supporting bout as well.
The main event will see Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (17-4, 14) [矢田良太] make his second defense of the title, as he takes on Shusaku Fujinaka (16-9-2, 10) [藤中 周作]. This promises to be an explosive contest but one where the champion will be heavily favoured to retain his title.
A better looking national title fight will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-3, 10) [奥本 貴之] defending his title against the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10) [橋詰将義]. Okumoto won the title earlier this year, outpointing Hiroyuki Kudaka, and will be favoured here given his experience. Hashizume was highly touted a few years ago, following success in the Rookie of the Year, but hasn't really built on that early success, and this is a big step up for him.
A Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout will see Ryosuke Nasu (9-3-3, 2) [那須亮祐] take on Yuto Nakamura (8-5, 7) [中村祐斗]. This is a really interesting match up between talented youngsters. Nasu comes into the bout following a good decision win over Kenta Matsui, and he has been hard matched through his career with bouts against the likes of Masamichi Yabuki and Naoto Iwai. Nakamura on the other hand is 2-3 in his last 5, but did score a huge win last time out over Futa Akizuki and this could be a really exciting fight.
Another potentially thrilling match up will see Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-1, 5) [下町俊貴] battle Daisuke Watanabe (7-4, 4) [渡部大介]. The once beaten Shimomachi is on an 8 fight unbeaten run with 7 straight wins. Those wins saw him claim the Rookie of the Year title in 2017 at Super Bantamweight and has scored a couple of wins already this year, including a good one over Renan Portes. On the other hand Watanabe has been matched incredibly hard, facing the likes of Sho Nakazawa, Gakuya Furuhashi and Reiya Abe in his short career.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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